pl. n. a group of wide-spectrum drugs, first synthesized from barbituric acid. Known to depress respiration, they also induce drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Sedative, hypnotic, and anxiety-reducing in nature, they include phenobarbital, amobarbital, pentobarbital, and thiopental. See CNS depressants. Also sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic drugs.
BARBITURATES: "An accidental overdose of barbiturates can be lethal because it results in a person having trouble breathing. "